2 Replies to “Sunday, 2 August: Free Day in Clifden”

  1. Today I spent the day exploring the Irish countryside with Greg, Evan, and another traveler from the Czech Republic named Amy. We went to a beach on the Connemara coast, hiked around a wet field with lots of sheep, and fell just short of the summit on Diamond Hill. It felt like the most “Irish” thing I’ve experienced so far; we wandered about through the rolling green hills, stepping over rock walls and past bleating sheep, all while being pelted by temperamental rain and apocalyptic wind! I was reminded of some of Yeats’ early poetry like The Lake Isle of Innisfree and The Song of Wandering Aengus in which the Irish countryside is described with wonder and longing as a place that is comparable to no other (especially not London’s city streets). This was an amazing experience for many reasons, and Greg and Evan can both confirm that there was much joyful whooping and yodeling and frolicking in what felt like 100 mph winds on the top of Diamond!

    1. Here to confirm. This was one of the best days of the trip for me, and I hope future trips will make a point of hiking in Connemara. This felt like the freest of the free days: I woke up and ate my way through and Irish breakfast, looked into my coffee for about fifteen minutes, hoping it would wake me up, and then Greg wandered in offering us a ride out to the national park. Amy, our friend expat living in the Czech Republic, a traveler herself, wandered up the coast with us, and we just stopped whenever we wanted to and got out to enjoy. I was thinking of the Hazel wood too, “and walk among long dappled grass” when we were making our way up that mountain that we picked to hike–there was something like a fire in our heads that made us get out of the car every time, and even when we had already hiked one mountain, hike the next.

      I think the reason you feel (and I second that) that it was the most “Irish” day, is because there wasn’t much of an intermediary between us and the experience of the country. We all slipped and fell in some bog, and climbed up and looked at the way the rain moved over the towns in the distance, where we could’ve been shopping; we got rocked by wind on that mountain in the national park, and kept going up until we couldn’t walk forward anymore; we learned about bogs from the informative display at the national park information center (god save the bogs). Today was the day we really got a look at the country from above, with no tour busses behind us, and no musicians playing authentic folk on the walk back to the road.

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